Is Joe Burrow the best quarterback in the AFC North division? We analyze the QB competition in the Cincinnati Bengals’ division.
Sports betting is coming to Ohio on January 1, 2023. Until then, we can speculate what bets we’ll want to make and on who.
A big part of sports betting is the NFL. In Ohio, they have a team by the name of the Cincinnati Bengals that is coming off a Super Bowl berth.
While they did lose, a big part of that was thanks to quarterback Joe Burrow. He came back after tearing his ACL and led the team to one of their best seasons ever.
So, how does Burrow compare to the other quarterbacks in the AFC North Division? Is Joe Burrow the best QB in AFC North? Let’s take a look.
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The Competition: AFC North QBs
To get an idea of the quarterback strength in the AFC North division, we’ve taken a look at stats from Week 1 to Week 4 of the 2022/2023 NFL season. Here are our findings:
|Player||Team||Statistics (as of Week 4 of the 2022-23 NFL season)|
|Joe Burrow||Cincinnati Bengals||1,099 passing yards, 8 touchdowns, 4 interceptions, 64.1% completion rate. 9 designed carries, 79 yards, 3 fumbles|
|Lamar Jackson||Baltimore Ravens||893 passing yards, 11 touchdowns, 4 interceptions, 65% completion rate. 25 designed carries, 316 yards, 2 touchdowns, 1 fumble.|
|Jacoby Brissett||Cleveland Browns||830 passing yards, 4 touchdowns, 2 interceptions, 64.6% completion rate. 9 designed carries, 80 yards, 1 touchdown.|
|Mitchell Trubisky (benched in Week 4)||Pittsburgh Steelers||653 passing yards, 2 touchdowns, 2 interceptions, 59.5% completion rate. 3 designed carries, 34 yards, 1 touchdown.|
|Kenny Pickett||Pittsburgh Steelers||120 passing yards, 0 touchdowns, 3 interceptions, 76.9% completion rate. 3 designed carries, 15 yards, 2 touchdowns.|
Let’s Rule Out Some Competition…
Mitchell Trubisky & Kenny Pickett
Here, we’ll look at the quarterbacks we can immediately rule out of this competition against Burrow. That would be Brissett and the tandem of Trubisky and Pickett.
While Pickett had three interceptions, it’s worth noting that none were his fault. However, it’s too early in the rookie’s career to tell. As the Steelers starter, Trubisky struggled to get anything moving on offense and still completed less than 60% of his passes.
According to Pro Football Focus, Trubisky graded out as the No. 11 overall passer with a 69.5 grade. Interestingly, this is higher than Burrow, who sits at No. 17 with a 65.0 grade.
Still, when push comes to shove, we’d easily take Burrow over Trubisky and Pickett.
Looking at this season alone, it’s closer than you’d think. Brissett ranks as the No. 8 passer in the league.
Burrow hasn’t been super clean with the ball. He has eight turnover-worthy plays and has an average depth of target of just eight yards despite his plethora of weapons. Brissett has half the turnover-worthy plays Burrow does and has an average depth of target similar to his at 7.9 yards.
Brissett is much more conservative, but he’s taking care of the ball, throwing just two interceptions all year.
He had a fantastic game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, who picked off Burrow four times. He had 220 yards on 21 completions in that game for two touchdowns.
Burrow’s pedigree and track record give him the edge. Still, one could argue Brissett has simply been the better quarterback this season.
Not Quite There Yet…
If not for several injuries to the Ravens in 2021-22, including Lamar Jackson, who knows that would have happened playoffs-wise for them and the Bengals?
Nonetheless, Burrow is the second-best quarterback in the division, behind Jackson. Jackson is coming off his worst game of the season against the Buffalo Bills, but that’s to be expected. Their defense has made it difficult for all of their opponents.
Besides that, Jackson had three straight games of three or more passing touchdowns, and he adds so much with his legs, scoring on the ground twice.
Outside of his 5.0 average target depth in Week 4, Jackson has not been afraid to push the ball downfield, posting average depths of target of 10.4 or more between Weeks 1 and 3.
Jackson may not be quite the prolific passer Burrow is when he’s on his A-game. Still, Jackson offers more than enough as a passer and is probably the most lethal rushing threat in the entire sport.
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Joe Burrow Conclusion
So, is Joe Burrow the best QB in the AFC North division?
Burrow and the Bengals are now 5-4 on the season after wins against the likes of the Miami Dolphins and New Orleans Saints. However, to get to those wins, Burrow still hasn’t quite been the guy we saw last season.
He went over 300 passing yards in Week 1, but it came on 65 dropbacks as they were playing from behind, thanks to his four interceptions.
Since then, he has only cleared 300 yards twice. However, his single-game completion rate has been rising consistently since his poor start to the season – he has hit 70% or more every week since Week 6.
In our eyes, Burrow isn’t yet the best quarterback in the AFC North. Lamar Jackson represents the one hurdle to being the best in this division. But, there’s still plenty of time in Burrow’s career to become the main man.